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A Milwaukee man who suspected his 13-year-old neighbor of breaking into his home and stealing weapons was convicted Wednesday of fatally shooting the boy as the teen’s mother looked on.

Now, jurors will decide whether the 76-year-old defendant was mentally ill at the time.

A jury deliberated for about an hour before finding John Henry Spooner guilty of first-degree intentional homicide. Surveillance video from his own security cameras showed him confronting Darius Simmons in May 2012, pointing a gun at him from about 6 feet away and shooting him in the chest.

Spooner had entered two pleas to the homicide charge: not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

That set up the trial to be conducted in two phases: the first to determine whether he was guilty of the homicide, and if so, a second to determine whether he was mentally competent at the time.

 

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